Backstage

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15
Dec 29, 2011

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Candice Birns

Candice Birns’ beauty obsession started when she was just five years old. The Los Angeles native was acting in commercials and realized that she had far more fun in the hair and makeup trailer than in front of the camera. Luckily for her client roster of celebrities, models and musicians, she decided to follow her true love and become a stylist. We talked to the in-demand artist about her path to success, why she loves styling for the red carpet and which star she’d love to give a makeover.

Tell us about your hair journey.


I started at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis right out of high school. Then I worked for Sally Hershberger at John Frieda in L.A. I later moved to the famous Umberto Salon, where I started working with musicians on events and music videos. I’m now at Canale Salon, living the dream and making things happen.

Who were your hair heroes when you first started out?


I was obsessed with Sharon Tate growing up, so I really admired Jay Sebring and John Peters. Of course, I’m also amazed by Oribe and the incredible work he’s done.

Who was your first celebrity client?


Shannon Elizabeth. My second was Carolyn Murphy.

Who was your most memorable celebrity client?


I did legendary actress and singer Edie Adams’ wet set once a week for three years. She taught me the art of an old-school set.

What do you love about working with musicians?


I grew up loving music because my mom is a pianist. When accepting a job with an artist or band, I have to actually like their music or I can’t do their hair. I work with a lot of male musicians, such as members of MGMT and Hot Hot Heat. Men are great clients because they’re so easy and loyal. Depending on the label, we usually get to have a lot of fun and be adventurous. I specialize in the men’s shag and in rock ‘n’ roll styles like mohawks. I don’t really get to do things like that on a daily basis in the salon.

Which musician would you like to give a makeover?


Katy Perry. She’s so naturally beautiful that I’d love to see her glammed out and pretty and not as “cheeky” as she usually is. She’d look amazing with a 1970s Studio 54 style.

What’s your favorite thing to do as a hairdresser?


I love doing red carpet events. You get to make someone feel beautiful and confident, and everybody’s going to see your work. It’s instant gratification.

What’s your dream job?


Well, my rock star dream already came true when I styled Rod Stewart! Next, I’d love to do a shoot for W or Vogue Italia. Vogue Italia really pushes style to the next level. A phone call from either of those mags would make my heart jump into my throat…

What advice do you have for other stylists?


First and foremost, learn how to be a good haircutter. Once you understand how to cut hair, styling is easy. Assist as many people as you can and really take the time to learn about hair. Also, never stop learning.

What’s the best advice you give to your clients?


Don’t overwash your hair. And ALWAYS carry Dry Texturizing Spray, which will help you in a pinch. It has saved me many, many times!
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